H.4139 Law Enforcement Exemptions – Not so Much
During the incredibly corrupt manner the House passed H.4139, there were a lot of discussions surrounding the inability of off-duty law enforcement to carry a firearm in a “Prohibited Area” as defined in the bill.
First it should be made very clear that the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association voted unanimously to oppose the entire piece of legislation. They also never asked for any carve outs for off duty law enforcement.
During the “debate” on H.4139 an amendment was offered, and passed, to exempt – “…law enforcement officer, acting in their personal capacity, while carrying a firearm provided by the officer’s employing law enforcement agency…” (Line 2461 of the bill.)
With a lot of interesting language, it appears that they can only carry their service firearm while off duty in a prohibited area. So, they are good, right? Maybe not so much.
In an entirely different part of the bill under exemptions for “Large Capacity Firearms” it appears to ban the carry or possession of Large Capacity Firearms while off duty – “… weapon so carried or possessed and shall be acting within the scope of the person's official duties.” (Line 1476 of the bill)
Two things here. Does any agency in Massachusetts issue a firearm to their officers that is not large capacity? And, does this mean they can’t possess (own) one personally?
There is also an interesting restriction on out of state law enforcement acting within their official capacity entering into Massachusetts. It begins in line 1622 of the bill – “… Police officers and other peace officers of any state, territory or jurisdiction within the United States duly authorized to possess firearms by the laws thereof shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have a license to carry a firearm that is not an assault-style firearm…”
That could make life interesting for an officer in pursuit that crossed the state line. Great work once again Chairman Day!